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Heian Shrine

An important shrine for patriotic locals and curious tourists alike, this site has charming buildings and natural gardens that celebrate Kyoto’s fusion of past and present.

The Heian Shrine is a site of simple beauty and reflection. Built in 1895 on the 1,100th anniversary of the foundation of Kyoto, the sanctuary pays homage to spirits of the country’s emperors. It blends artifice with nature in its museums and traditional gardens. Japan has designated the site as an important cultural property and one of the highest-ranking shrines of its kind.

Walk through the majestic Torii gate as you approach the shrine. Take photos of the main buildings, a scaled-down version of the original imperial palace from the Heian epoch. Attend the Jidai Festival, which takes place on October 22 every year, the anniversary of Kyoto’s birth. Enjoy parades of Japanese marchers in traditional dress from assorted historical periods. Weddings, concerts and other events are held throughout the year.

Embrace the Minami Shin’en garden in the south in April to take advantage of the spacious cherry blossom gardens in full bloom. Peruse the grounds’ various plants and ponds. Feed the fish and rare wildlife, including the yellow and Japanese pond turtles. Tread the stone pillar walkway in the middle garden, which is known as Naka Shin’en. Admire the scenery with a backdrop of the Higashiyama hills in the Higashi Shin’en area to the east. There is an admission fee for the gardens.

The Heian Shrine stands in memory of Emperors Kanmu (8th century) and Komei (19th century). They were the first and final leaders to reign from Kyoto. By the entrance stand a couple of attractions, including the Museum of Modern Art and Kyoto Municipal Museum of Art.

The shrine is located in the northeastern region of the city. Nearby attractions include the temples of Shinnyodo, Eikando and Nanzen-ji. The Philosopher’s Walk is only a short distance to the east. Bus rides take half an hour from the city’s principal transportation hub, Kyoto Station, to the shrine. Higashiyama Station is less than 1 mile (1.6 kilometers) away on foot.


Guide to Exploring around Heian Shrine


Lodging Near Heian Shrine

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Kyoto Yura Hotel - MGallery

Kyoto Yura Hotel - MGallery

84 OHASHICHO, Kyoto
    4.5 out of 5.0
     
     

    Located in Higashiyama, this luxury hotel is within a 15-minute walk of Nishiki Market and Chion-in Temple. Heian Shrine and Kyoto Imperial Palace are also within ...

    Kyoto Yura Hotel - MGalleryAU$213

    Ace Hotel Kyoto

    Ace Hotel Kyoto

      3.5 out of 5.0
       
       

      Located in Central Kyoto, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Kyoto International Manga Museum, Nishiki Market and Kawaramachi. Nijō Castle and Shijo Omiya ...

      Ace Hotel KyotoAU$448

      Hotel Monterey Kyoto

      Hotel Monterey Kyoto

      604 Manjuya-cho, Sanjo-sagaru, Kyoto, Kyoto
        3.5 out of 5.0
         
         

        Located in Central Kyoto, this hotel is within a 5-minute walk of Rokakkudo Temple and Nishiki Market. Kawaramachi and Kyoto International Manga Museum are also ...

        Hotel Monterey KyotoAU$115

        SOLARIA Nishitetsu Hotel Kyoto Premier

        SOLARIA Nishitetsu Hotel Kyoto Premier

          3.5 out of 5.0
           
           

          Located in Central Kyoto, this hotel is steps away from Kiyamachi Street and Pontocho. Nishiki Market and Kawaramachi are also within 15 minutes. Shiyakusho-mae ...

          SOLARIA Nishitetsu Hotel Kyoto PremierAU$213

          RIHGA Royal Hotel Kyoto

          RIHGA Royal Hotel Kyoto

          1 Taimatsu-cho, Shiokoji-sagaru, HigashiHorikawa-dori, Shimogyo-ku, Kyoto, Kyoto
            4.0 out of 5.0
             
             

            Located in Central Kyoto, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Kyoto Tower and Kyoto Aquarium. Kyoto Railway Museum and Kawaramachi are also within 2 mi ...

            RIHGA Royal Hotel KyotoAU$121

            Park Hyatt Kyoto

            Park Hyatt Kyoto

            360 Kodaiji Masuyacho, Higashiyama, Kyoto
              4.5 out of 5.0
               
               

              Located in Higashiyama, this luxury hotel is within a 5-minute walk of Hokanji Temple and Kodaiji Temple. Kiyomizu Temple and Gion Corner are also within 15 ...

              Park Hyatt KyotoAU$1,463

              The Ritz-Carlton, Kyoto

              The Ritz-Carlton, Kyoto

                5.0 out of 5.0
                 
                 

                Located in Central Kyoto, this luxury hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Kiyamachi Street, Kyoto University, and Pontocho. Nishiki Market and Kawaramachi are ...

                The Ritz-Carlton, KyotoAU$1,443

                Hotel Resol Kyoto Kawaramachi-Sanjo

                Hotel Resol Kyoto Kawaramachi-Sanjo

                  3.0 out of 5.0
                   
                   

                  Located in Central Kyoto, this hotel is steps away from Kiyamachi Street and Pontocho. Kawaramachi and Nishiki Market are also within 10 minutes. Sanjo Station ...

                  Hotel Resol Kyoto Kawaramachi-Sanjo AU$81

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